7 migraine triggers to know

WASHINGTON – What’s inside your foods and drinks could trigger migraines.

A migraine is more than a headache. A sufferer can experience symptoms for days. Those symptoms can include sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and lightheadness.

And there’s a lot of pain.

With June as National Migraine Awareness Month, a U.S. News & World Report column maps out a few potential migraine triggers.

Keri Gans, a paid spokeswoman for Excedrin, says it’s important to check the ingredients in food. By tracking ingredients along with your migraines, you may be able to control your migraines.

  • Tyramine – Tyramine is often found in high protein foods, processed meats and foods that age, such as cheese. It can be found in products that don’t come from animals, such as soy-based foods, pickles, alcohol and overripe fruit.
  • Alcohol – Since alcohol increases blood flow to the brain, it can trigger a migraine, regardless of its tyramine content.
  • Tannins – These are found in plant compounds. They are found in tea, red- skinned apples and pears and some citrus fruits. Most tannins are located in the skin of fruits. Red wines contain tannins.
  • Caffeine – Caffeine can treat migraines, but it also can cause migraines, so it can be difficult to judge whether it’s helpful or harmful. Drinks with caffeine as well as chocolate should be avoided if you’re sensitive.
  • Artificial sweeteners and preservatives – Aspartame, MSG and preservatives with sulfites and nitrates can bring on migraines, so try to read food labels.

U.S. News also recommends downloading a smartphone app, such as My Migraine Triggers, to keep track of what you’re eating and when you’re suffering from a migraine.

WTOP’s Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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